doug edert
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Saint Peter’s is living up to its unofficial mantra that “the job’s not finished.” The Peacocks take down Purdue in a Sweet 16 thriller.

Saint Peter’s is the greatest Cinderella story in NCAA Tournament history. That’s not an opinion — it’s a fact at this point. Saint Peter’s is the first 15 seed to advance to the Elite Eight and this tiny Jesuit school in Jersey City is having its moment in the sun.

Jump on the bandwagon while you still can.

Calling the Peacocks a Cinderella might be going out of fashion. Coach Shaheen Holloway had one message for the world after the win:

“What they gone say now?”

Saint Peter’s has a formula in these games — grind teams out by controlling the tempo. with tough defense and a balanced attack. There isn’t a single guy who teams can key on, and everyone on Saint Peter’s is confident enough to take big shots.

Daryl Banks III led the way with 14 points, Clarence Rupert added 11, and Doug Edert chipped in with 10 off the bench. Typical Peacock performance.

KC Ndefo, the three-time reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, was in foul trouble all game. Even with Ndefo struggling, the rest of the frontcourt stepped up to slow down the monster duo of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams for Purdue.

This overlooked bunch is taking down teams with five-star recruits, future lottery picks, and massive athletics budgets. Saint Peter’s isn’t going to back down to anyone and that’s a direct reflection of the head coach.

Holloway is coaching his ass off during the NCAA Tournament and that shouldn’t be overlooked. To be fair, he’s been doing a tremendous job since the start of conference play in the regular season. The difference is that now he’s doing it on a national stage.

He’s pushing all the right buttons at the right time. How often do we see five-for-five substitutions in Division I college basketball? Holloway made a full-on line change as his first substitution in this game. The second unit outscored Purdue by a point during that stretch of play.

But Holloway’s incredible run is about more than just finding the right lineup combinations. The Peacocks made defensive adjustments at halftime to take the Boilermakers out of their rhythm.

Instead of allowing Purdue to walk the ball up and dump it into Edey or Williams in the post, Saint Peter’s went to a full-court soft pressure to slow the attack. After the ball crossed halfcourt, they would drop back into an effective 2-3 matchup zone. Sprinkle in a trap every few possessions to keep them on their toes.

Holloway is mixing and matching his way all the way to the Elite Eight. This Saint Peter’s story is not finished and the Peacocks are one game away from the Final Four.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.